Archives NZ takes on government rights management role

The State Services Commission's e-government unit has divested itself of yet another function, shifting development of trusted computing and digital rights management standards to Archives New Zealand.

The move follows news this month that all-of-government ICT service delivery functions within SSC would move to the Department of Internal Affairs.

New Zealand's approach to trusted Computing and DRM drew international attention, and some criticism, when it was first reported in 2006.

Archives New Zealand accepted the custodianship for the TC/DRM standards and guidelines from the SSC at a government record keeping forum in Wellington earlier this month.

In July 2007, the State Services Commission issued standards on how to manage TC/DRM in the state sector to support principles and policies issued in 2006.

Trusted computing technology (TC) can be embedded in computer hardware to protect information from unauthorized use. Digital rights management (DRM) can regulate whether digital information can be viewed, printed, copied or modified, who can take these actions, and for how long, a statement from Archives NZ says.

"TC/DRM presents challenges and risks to government in the protection of the integrity of government-held information while also promising some advancement for the security and management of information," the statement says.

Hugh McPhail, the SSC's manager for e-government strategy and policy, said "the SSC believes that the standards and guidelines are a natural fit with the focus and experience of Archives New Zealand."

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